The phrase “talking past each other” surely applies to the “debate” in which we are supposedly engaged over the meaning of marriage as it relates to divorce, redefinition, cohabitation, unwed parenting, etc. On one side, there are discussions of the channeling function of the law, the importance of upholding ideals in the face of real-world tragedies, and the rightful expectation of children to know and be raised by their own mother and father or a very close alternative.
On the other side, the message is simpler: I hurt because of you.
The subtext is that if the laws are changed to be more inclusive or if standards are relaxed, then pangs of conscience will be alleviated or thoughtless people will stop saying unkind things.
As Maggie Gallagher noted recently, it seems that there will always be the potential for unmet desires, but the call for a truly civilized society is to prioritize our response to the hurt this situation engenders. Will we respond to expressions of pain in a way that increases it for another person? Read more